In an announcement this past Wednesday, Democratic Governor of New York Kathy Hochul confirmed an end to New York’s controversial indoor mask mandate for all businesses, which forced people to carry and show verified evidence of full vaccination state or wear a mask indoors at all time.
The order is slated to expire this Thursday, and Hochul stated in her announcement that she was going to let it fall of naturally. Hochul’s mask mandate has been slammed with extreme pushback from the court system.
“It was an emergency temporary measure put in place only two months ago,” Hochul stated on Wednesday. “At this time, we say that is the right decision to lift this mandate for indoor businesses and let counties, cities and businesses make their own decisions on what they want to do with respect to masks or the vaccination requirement.”
“That is why we feel comfortable to lift this in effect tomorrow,” Hochul claimed, as reported by the New York Post.
“Numbers are coming down, and it is time to adapt,” she also stated, as reported by The New York Times.
“Why is all this happening? Because New Yorkers and businesses stepped up and did the right thing,” exclaimed Hochul, per NBC News. “And I will always be grateful for them for being the reason these numbers have been declining.”
She went on to state, however, that all private businesses and local jurisdictions still held the choice to enact their own unique mask mandates if they so choose.
“We want to make sure that every business knows this is your prerogative and individuals who want to continue wearing masks can continue wearing masks,” stated Hochul. “And I suspect when I walk the streets of New York City … I’m still going to see a lot of people wearing masks because they will feel safer.”
This choice could be a determining factor for more people to come back to offices instead of continuing to work remotely and opting to refrain from masks at home. Some business leaders put forth the argument that the workplace mask mandate was a factor in the refusal of many workers from coming back to the workplace.
“People are operating fine remotely and they just don’t want to come back to the office wearing masks,” claimed the president and chief executive of Partnership for New York City, Kathryn Wylde, which is a large business organization, reported The Times. “The feeling is they might as well be on Zoom. Assuming it’s safe, employers would be glad to get rid of the mask mandate and hope that it will encourage a broader return to the office.”
Despite this upcoming change, the Mask mandate for New York schools is still in effect, just as it is in most Democrat-run states. “State health officials said they expect to renew the regulation, which expires on Feb. 21, that gives them the authority to issue the mandate,” highlighted the Times.
Hochul also highlighted that the state would watch over the transition throughout the first few weeks of March to monitor the changes.
As reported by NBC New York, “She later added there was a ‘strong possibility’ she could lift the school mask mandate as of March 7 if data looked good on March 4.”
“We’re not surrendering. This is not disarmament. We’re going to continue to be adaptable and responsive to the changing circumstances,” stated Hochul, per CNBC. “But again, the trends are very, very, very positive.”